The government increased overall efforts to protect victims. Authorities identified 17 trafficking victims (15 forced labor victims and two sex trafficking victims), an increase from seven in 2020. All were foreign citizens, including 13 men and four women. Any person or organization could report a suspected trafficking victim to the police, but the police had the sole authority to officially identify a victim and refer them to government assistance. Immigration officials used a specific victim identification protocol, based on the national referral mechanism, that included instructions on identifying victims among unaccompanied children.
Government-funded victim services included housing, psychological support, medical, legal, and financial assistance. The government provided €412,870 ($468,110) in 2021 to the two NGOs responsible for coordinating trafficking victim care, a decrease from €461,500 ($523,240) in 2020. Government-funded NGOs provided shelter to 26 trafficking victims in 2021 (two government-funded NGOs provided shelter to 16 victims in 2020). The two government-funded anti-trafficking NGOs created a combined name and logo to improve visibility and access to services and promoted a new single contact number in January 2022. Limited business hours continued to cause delays in victim assistance and hindered proactive operations. When the government identified victims outside operational hours, police could directly refer adult female and child victims to shelters; adult male victims could be housed temporarily in hotels until longer-term housing could be identified. Adult male victims could receive the same access to long-term accommodation and other victim services as adult female and child victims. Victims could leave the shelters unchaperoned and at will during business hours of their respective shelter. Observers noted good cooperation between the two government-funded anti-trafficking NGOs and the shelters, however, they expressed concern that the shelters were often operating at full capacity. The government provided €8.3 million ($9.4 million) to NGO-run centers that provided shelter and assistance to victims of crime, including trafficking victims, compared with €8.4 million ($9.5 million) in 2020. The government also allocated €102,560 ($116,280) to an NGO responsible for providing shelter to male trafficking victims, an increase from €96,960 ($109,930) in 2020.
Foreign victims were entitled to a 90-day reflection period to decide whether they wanted to testify, during which EU citizen victims could work. Upon expiration of the reflection period, the government could issue a foreign victim either temporary or permanent residency status if the victim chose to cooperate with law enforcement, during which time all victims could work. In June 2021, the government amended the Immigration Law to clarify that residence permits granted to trafficking victims were renewable throughout the judicial process, each time for a six-month period. The government assessed on a case-by-case basis the residency status of victims who did not participate in an investigation. Victim assistance was not contingent on cooperating with an investigation, but victims who declined to cooperate with police did not benefit from a temporary authorization to stay. The government provided legal alternatives to removal to countries in which victims would face retribution or hardship and provided relief from deportation for medical reasons. The government trained immigration officials on trafficking indicators, and officials used a questionnaire to proactively screen asylum-seekers for trafficking; however, the government did not detect potential trafficking victims among asylum-seekers in 2021 or 2020. The government provided protection to victims throughout the judicial process and took measures to avoid re-traumatization, including by limiting the number of victim interviews and allowing the recording of testimony of child victims. Courts could grant restitution, and victims could claim compensation through civil suits against traffickers. A court granted €27,470 ($31,150) in restitution to one victim in 2021 (courts did not grant restitution or provide compensation in civil suits in 2020).